Steps to be a good support system for your addicted friend

Do you have a friend who is struggling with addiction, and you don’t know how to help them? In this post, you will learn how you can support your friend and cheer them on to sobriety.

It is important to mention that moments like this often reveal the meaning of true friendship. Here are some of the ways you can be a support system for your addicted friend.

Free People Silhouette during Sunset Stock Photo

Learn more about addiction

One of the important steps to becoming a good support system is to educate yourself more on what addiction entails.

Many people find it hard to be there for their loved ones because they don’t know what addiction means. You need to know that addiction is a brain disease that can affect the normal functioning of the individual’s brain.

Don’t judge or criticize them

Some people make the mistake of criticizing or judging their friends because they are addicted. And most times, it is done ignorantly.

When you judge an addict, you are not helping them get better. Some addicts may decide to even remain in their addiction state and not seek help because they want to get back at you. Hence, instead of judging them, show them love, and care for them.

Encourage them to seek addiction treatment help

Another way to be a good support system for your friend struggling with addiction is to motivate them to seek treatment. You need to be careful when doing this so that it doesn’t look like you’re forcing them.

Let them know that their condition could have adverse effects but that they can get treated and begin a new life. They might not accept your points initially, so you have to be patient with them until they agree to seek help from a professional.

Don’t indulge them

If you want your friend to break free from addiction, it is important not to indulge them. This means you have to play your part to ensure that they don’t encounter anything that will fuel their addiction.


Different treatment plans exist depending on the type of addiction, insurance plan, financial capability, family inclusion and so on, therefore finding the right treatment plan that caters to your needs and that of your family is all too important.  This can be quite overwhelming but fear not, this article is here to help you make your choice. What qualities should you look out for? 

  1. Comprehensive Assessment and Treatment Matching

An effective treatment begins with a proper and valid screening and assessment for a range of substance use disorders and related conditions.

This is followed by a more comprehensive assessment of substance use history and related disorders, medical history, psychiatric history, individual’s family and social networks, and assessment of available recovery resources. This is necessary to help uncover the many interrelated and underlying factors affecting the patient’s functioning and aspects that could compromise the recovery process.

2. A well-educated team:

A facility run by an addiction treatment expert with a master’s or doctorate licensing or board certification is your best bet at getting all round, research and evidence based effective treatment.

An inpatient drug and alcohol rehab program should have a multidisciplinary staff as well as a medical doctor who would be responsible for the physical health of the person as well as administering any prescriptions the patients require.

3. Frequent Individual and group counseling sessions

Effective treatment programs should also include frequent one-on-one counseling sessions for participants provided by trained addiction experts. Group therapy also serves to form relationships, build lifelong bonds, bring a wide range of experiences and perspective to the entire group and an added layer of accountability.

4. Comprehensive, Integrated Treatment Approach

Addiction disorders and mental illnesses are not mutually exclusive. Given these high odds of suffering from a dual diagnosis, it is very important that a top inpatient addiction treatment program be equipped to treat co-occurring disorders.

Dual diagnosis treatment is associated with better outcomes including: Improved quality of life, reduced substance use, decreased hospitalizations, Improved psychiatric symptoms, Increased housing stability, Fewer arrests.

5. Long-term approach

Research has documented that recovery rates improve dramatically when a long-term treatment plan is in place.  according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) residential or outpatient programs should consist of a minimum of 90 days.

This approach usually begins with an inpatient or intensive outpatient care and extends a sober living program, a relapse prevention program depending on the individual’s needs.

6.  Evidence-based therapies

Many types of therapies are used to treat substance addictions and mental disorders. The best programs offer programs that use evidenced-based treatment modalities. SAMSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) defines Evidence-based programs as, “programs that have been shown to have positive outcomes through high-quality research.”

When researching a treatment program, in addition to asking what types of therapies are offered, you want to know that their use is based on research.

7. Nutritionally focused

Addiction often goes hand-in-hand with a poor diet. It harms the body and the brain and weakens the immune system This can leave the person underweight, overweight, or with bad skin. Good nutrition can reverse these conditions and improve physical appearance. This can help boost self-confidence and self-esteem.  An excellent rehab program includes a Medical Nutritional Therapy (MNT) plan. Addiction.

8. Physical fitness/ Exercise

 Various forms of exercise offer different benefits. Aerobic exercise, such as running, actually increases the neuron reserves in the part of the brain that is responsible for learning. In addition to increasing the ability to learn, regular exercise relieves stress and tension which makes it easier for individuals to release negative emotions.

It also releases endorphins. Endorphins are nature’s “feel good” hormone and offer a natural high that is free of the negative risks of drugs. Lastly, exercise increases self-confidence and optimism, as well as lowers rates of depression and anxiety.

9. A family program

Addiction not only impacts the individual but the entire family suffers.  sometimes family members assume certain roles in the family just to cope with the situation. Healing the family prepares the family to better support the person in recovery and sobriety and prevent addiction from spreading to other family members or future generations.

10. Personalized Approaches that include Specialized Populations, Gender and Cultural Competence

Stemming from individualized comprehensive screening and assessment, programs should treat all patients as individuals attending to their needs accordingly. One size does not fit all, and neither does one treatment approach work for every individual.

High-quality treatment programs identify the potentially different needs of men and women, adolescents versus adults, and those from different minority communities (e.g. LGBT) or cultural backgrounds, creating in turn, treatment and recovery plans that address their specific needs and acknowledge their available strengths and recovery resources.

11. External Accreditation from Nationally Recognized Quality Monitoring Agencies                            

Accreditation from external regulatory organizations such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare organizations (JCAHO; aka “the Joint Commission”), the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), and the Council on Accreditation (COA); and other programs licensed by the state are required to offer minimum levels of evidence-based care.

These licensing and accreditation requirements serve as quality assurance that the treatment program is incorporating a certain level of evidence-based care in its model and is open to random audit of its clinical care.

11. Connection-building activities among clients

 Addiction also isolates a person emotionally therefore establishing strong emotional connections and bonds pave the way for a healthier life. An excellent treatment program encourages and fosters camaraderie among clients.

The success of an addict’s recovery is as good as his/her treatment plan.

Importance of aftercare treatment

Receiving treatment for addiction is one of the best decisions that could be taken. However, this is not where the story ends. It is important to maintain that sobriety on a continuum but often times, relapse happens.

When an individual relapses, it means the person has gone back to his addicted lifestyle. Now, a relapse does not mean that addiction treatment was not successful. It simply means that the individual has not been fully equipped to cope with triggers and cravings that constitute addiction.

In addition, it also implies that the individual did not approach life circumspectly, considering the fact that a good number of things must have changed while he was in rehab.

Aftercare treatment comes in handy because it helps to prevent relapse. And advisably, it is best to commence aftercare treatment immediately after addiction treatment. This is what a good rehab would typically do; in their addiction treatment schedule, the aftercare program would have been integrated.

Aftercare treatment equips the recovering individual with skills that helps to conquer cravings and triggers. It is usually a transition phase for the individual because the program helps him to settle down and adjust to the new pace of life.

In addition, the aftercare treatment helps an individual to live a healthy life. The individual would be taught various healthy practices that would help to keep his life on track. Without these healthy practices, the individual might find it hard to combat cravings and triggers.

The aftercare treatment comes in handy to reduce the possibility of a relapse which happens in like 2 in every 5 recovered individuals. However, with the counselor, therapists and loved ones who continually show their care and support, the individual would do fine.

To wrap it up, an aftercare treatment is an integral part of the entire addiction treatment phase. For an individual to live a healthy life that is rid of addiction, the aftercare treatment phase must be fully committed to.

Function of your loved ones during addiction treatment

When an individual leads an addicted lifestyle, the people that are affected the most are his loved ones. Typically, they would not see eye-to-eye on various issues because of their addiction problem. Due to the fact that people who are addicted are stigmatized, they would naturally be on the offensive side.

If the loved ones of an individual do not give their support to their addicted family member, there is a tendency that the addiction problem would become worse. In fact, the individual would not be encouraged to enter for addiction treatment because there is no support.

On the other hand, one of the fastest ways for an individual to successfully beat addiction, is the help of his loved ones. It is the responsibility to show love and care to their addicted family member, which would spur him to enter for treatment.

During addiction treatment, the loved ones still have a role to play. Bear in mind that, loved ones in this scenario refer to family and friends. This does not mean that other categories of people like acquaintances, co-workers and the likes are left out.

What happens is, family and friends are the closest groups of people that can encourage and spur an individual on to seek treatment. If these groups of people are absent, it would be difficult for anyone else to motivate the addicted individual to seek help.

When an individual enters for addiction treatment, the counselor helps to provide a platform where the loved ones can still play a pivotal role. For instance, the loved ones would be required to attend group therapy sessions, where they can learn more about addiction and how to care for their loved ones.

At the end of the day, when the individual is discharged from rehab, his loved ones have a crucial role to play in helping him settle down into the society. This stage is somewhat challenging because of the chances of relapse. But with proper care, the individual would do fine.   

Seeking Treatment For A Loved One

It might be that you are faced with a decision of when to put your loved one into a drug rehab program. This is a very difficult decision. Sometimes, it is not made correctly because a parent or spouse of someone with a drug problem doesn’t want the person to have a reason to be angry at them, and so they avoid brining up the subject and avoid getting the person help. However, this is going to do more harm than good in the long run. There are certain times that you just have to force someone to try to get help, and even if they seem to be angry with you at the start, they are going to figure out that you were right and they are going to thank you for it in the long run, because you are going to save their lives.

The decision of when to seek help for someone you love is a tough one. Basically, you should seek help from a drug rehab program for someone that you love when they can no longer control their drug use. When this happens, you will be able to tell that they are completely out of control of their own use. If this is the case, they will not be able to stop on their own, and you can probably not make them stop. You will have no choice but to admit them to a drug rehab program in the hopes that the professionals will be able to help them figure out how to stop using.

You should also consider a drug rehab program for someone who has hurt themselves or others with their drug use. If this is the case, you might not able to trust them to make their own decisions regarding their treatment. You might have to put them somewhere so that they can get clean, and once this has happened they will most likely be willing to listen to people and get help. Often it is the drugs that are talking when someone says they don’t believe that they need help, and it is the drugs that produce the anger that occurs when you force someone into a treatment center.

You should always keep in mind that while you can sometimes force a loved one to enter a treatment program, this does not always mean that they are going to get well. Eventually, a person must decide for themselves that they want to stop using and they want to get well. Once they have decided this, they will be able to make a much more successful and longer lasting recovery.

How to Seek an Addiction Treatment Program

It is important when searching for treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction that the right treatment program is chosen. There are a number of factors that must be considered and taken into account when trying to choose the right treatment program. The task then is how to find the right treatment program.

When choosing an addiction treatment program, it is important to realise that the substance being abused will play a large part in determining which treatment program to choose. From the large number of drug and alcohol treatment facilities that are available, there are slight differences between them. Some may specialise in treating less severe addictions or specifically relapses and on-going treatment or therapy, whilst others may focus more on the longer term, more severe addictions that may include other disorders or medical histories that must be taken into account.

How to Choose a Treatment Program ?

Treatment programs are as varied and numerous as the forms of addictions they are meant to address. With this in mind, how do you find a treatment program that is right for you? The obvious first answer would be the reason for seeking treatment. For example, you may be in need of treatment for alcoholism liberation, prescribed medications and street drug addictions, gambling compulsions, sexual obsessions or a combination of more than one dependency that is significantly altering your ability to enjoy a balanced, healthy and fulfilling life. So yes, it is logical to establish the type of help you need. Let’s call this the “what” aspect.

The next step is to determine “where” you want to be treated. Things to consider with this are the environment such as surroundings, smells, colors, décor. This may not seem like major issues, however, these factors do have a profound effect on the success rate for the individual. Are you attracted to natural surroundings or do you need the structure of a medical facility to keep you on track? Would you prefer the upscale surroundings of a luxury drug rehabilitation center or is a middle income environment fine with you? Also, are you willing to travel or does the program need to be near your current location? Where you receive your treatment program is an important key for your recovery.

Alcoholism Treatment in Today’s World

In the last century the world has rapidly transformed. The industrial age has given way to the technological and informational age. This has created innovative ways of changing communication, the distribution of knowledge, business, entertainment, medical science, and everything else fundamental to our kind. While it has essentially brought people closer together by the introduction of the Internet, it has also desensitized our socially inclined race, by removing the necessity for physical contact. It has also portrayed drug and alcohol abuse as sophisticated and urban..

It has become the era of the “quick fix.” Time has turned into an object of obsession, and we constantly look for the fastest, quickest ways, to feed ourselves, self medicate, transport, communicate, and to learn. Pharmaceutical companies are in their glory, as home remedies have been long forgotten, and life expectancy has been raised. There is a pill for everything now; a quick fix, that enables people to go on with their lives without any interruption. While these medications might work in the short-term, they are far from being adequately tested, and do nothing for the psychological effects induced by the problem.

There are other medications that deal with mental issues, but instead of finding the cause or possible solutions, doctors are quick to write prescriptions for anything that might lessen the symptoms. This often makes the situation worse. The medication not only does not directly or accurately address the real issue but it aggravates it. People are also over prescribed with a number of varying medications that they receive from multiple doctors or over the counter. Combining drugs is never a good idea, and can result in irreversible damage to the brain or the body. These ideas are also relevant to the area of alcoholism treatment.

Alcoholism is a very serious issue and should be treated with caution and delicacy. Too often alcoholism treatment centers, like the rest of the world, are prone for the quick fix. During detoxification and throughout the rest of treatment, doctors are at hand to prescribe medication for a variety of reasons. While it is sometimes necessary in severe cases to closely monitor the symptoms of withdrawal, treating substance abuse with medication can often ostracize the situation. It prohibits the obtainment of sobriety which is an essential first step in alcoholism treatment, and it often replaces one addiction with another.

Tranquilizers and other sedatives are also used in alcoholism treatment. While again, this might be deemed necessary, the likelihood of these particular individuals sustaining any help is slim. Without a clear head and willing involvement in the therapy and other sessions, the requisite work can not be accomplished. There are however alcoholism treatments and drug rehab programs that are homeopathic and do not believe in the use of prescribed medication.

Treatments are based upon the idea of scientology and use innovative sauna therapies to remove all traces of the addictive substance from the body. Instead of medication, the treatment plan consists of nutritionally balanced meals, vitamin, mineral supplements, and drug free detox or sauna detox. This is based upon the factual idea that if the body is healthy the individual will feel better mentally and emotionally, and will be more inclined to willingly involve themselves in treatment.

The simple monitoring of certain deficiencies can often reduce the symptoms that many alcoholics suffer from and that lead to use. Imbalances within the human body can create depression, anxiety, mood swings and other unhealthy feelings. In a dual-diagnosis situation both the mind and body must be treated for a successful recovery. Nutrition can do what medication can not. It can restore the body to it’s natural health and metabolism. Medications can only artificially make one feel better, and are often accompanied by many side effects.

Chronic Relapse

Although relapse is common, as long as the addict remains committed to his or her recovery, they can avoid becoming a statistic of chronic relapse. A drug rehabilitation program significantly reduces the chances of chronic relapse.

Addiction requires long-term treatment and lifestyle changes. However discouraging, setbacks are very common. It is estimated that 80% of all addicts who get off drugs by detoxification will go back to their drug/alcohol lifestyle within a year. Only 20% of these addicts achieve a stable abstinence from a given detoxification program.

Research is currently underway to determine the cause of these relapses. One culprit for chronic relapse is the phenomenon referred to as a “craving” or the powerful “hunger” for drugs and alcohol which can last for months or even years after an addict quits using. Some scientists have discovered evidence that this craving may be partly a physiological response related to the long-term changes in brain function that the initial addiction causes. In other words, the addicted brain becomes unable to function normally without the presence of the addictive substance. Drug addiction treatment typically includes an aftercare program aimed at helping the addict eliminate or neutralize “cravings”.